Climate Protection and Economic Efficiency in the Energy Supply of Buildings

When a building is planned, the best concept for building energy should also be planned more quickly and easily in the future. That's why we have developed optimization software together with Goldbeck. It calculates hundreds of energy scenarios within seconds and visualizes the most promising ones in a comprehensible way. These then serve as the basis for subsequent detailed planning by the expert.

An energy supply for buildings that protects resources makes a significant contribution to climate protection in Germany. Strict legal requirements (GEG, EEWärmeG) and subsidies (EEG, KWKG) are intended to achieve the lowest possible consumption of primary energy or fossil fuels for the heating and cooling of new buildings. An expected increase in energy prices in the future also offers motivation to consider alternative energy supply concepts – such as cogeneration units, geothermal energy, ad- or absorption cooling, solar thermal energy or photovoltaics. But the inclusion of these energy producers usually means a significantly higher initial investment, while the economic, long-term benefit through lower operating costs is difficult to estimate.

Planning Tool Compares Combinations of Energy Producers

Together with the Goldbeck company, we have developed a planning tool for this problem.

Depending on different key data such as:

  • the cubature (volume of a building, regardless of its design or material)
  • type of use
  • location-specific climatic conditions

The GEOS (Goldbeck Energy Optimization System) tool compares meaningful combinations of energy producers with regard to different key figures. These are especially investment and operating costs, but also the expected CO2 emissions or the comfort of the cooling system. So far, our development has focused on office buildings, but schools and other types of buildings are also being worked on and developed.

Screenshot Software GEOS Oberfläche
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Screenshot Software GEOS Oberfläche

Software Already Helps in Early Phase of Decisions

The resulting software offers the builder comprehensive multi-criteria decision support. The user can consider different variants in relation to the aforementioned factors against each other and receives in particular estimates for the amortization times of solutions with high investment but lower energy consumption in operation. In other words, the processes in which initial expenses for a property are covered by the resulting income.

A simulation forms the basis for determining the key figures. This simulates the coverage of location- and building-specific heating and cooling needs as well as electricity generation and consumption for the different producer combinations over a period of one year. How detailed the simulation is depends mainly on the amount of available information at the early planning phase in which the decision on the energy concept is made. This is where the planning tool differs from the building simulation tools that are already available on the market, which usually require data about the building that is only available in a very advanced planning phase.

The expert jury of The smarter-E-Award 2019 also recognized the innovative power of the GEOS software and selected the system as a finalist in the Smart Renewable Energy category. The focus of the award was on solutions and concepts that use renewable energies, decentralization and digitalization to intelligently connect all energy areas from the electricity, heat and transport sectors.

Software concept
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Software concept